January 18, 2010

The Panther men's basketball team opened NESCAC play with a 71-62 win over Bates on Friday night at Pepin Gym. Junior Andrew Locke (Seattle, Wash.) posted a career-high with 25 points, and matched his personal best with seven blocks, to go along with nine rebounds and 10/11 shooting. The 10th ranked Panthers improve to 13-1 and 1-0 in NESCAC play, while Bates drops to 6-7 and 0-1 in league play.

Trailing 6-5 early in the game, Middlebury went on a 7-0 spurt for a 12-6 lead with 14:18 remaining in the first half. Locke chipped in a bucket and hit a free throw as sophomore Ryan Sharry (Braintree, Mass.) added four points including a pair of free throws capping the run. The lead grew to 20-13 with 8:38 left before the Bobcats closed the gap to 20-18 on a jumper by Jimmy O'Keefe at the 7:25 mark. Middlebury went on an 11-4 spurt over the next six minutes when Mark Brust capped the first half scoring at 31-24 on a jumper with 59 seconds left.

Bates burst out of the gates to start the second with a 10-2 run, taking its first lead of the second half at 14:52. Nick Schmiemann added a pair of buckets, while three other Bobcats chipped in basket for a 34-33 lead. Middlebury regained the lead on its next possession with a lay-in by Sharry which ignited a 20-9 run over the next six minutes. Locked chipped in seven points, including a pair of dunks, along with a block and an assist during the spurt. The Panther lead hovered around ten points, bulging to 65-51 with 3:49 remaining when Locke grabbed a defensive rebound, found junior Jamal Davis (Brooklyn, N.Y.) who set up a three by first-year player Jake Wolfin (Woodcliff Lake, N.J.)

With 54 seconds left, Locke hit one of two free throws for a 68-57 lead. Schmiemann connected on a three for the Bobcats, cutting the Panther advantage to 68-60 with 46 seconds remaining. Bates put Middlebury on the line in the final seconds, but the Panthers went 3/4 down the stretch, to seal the win.

Locke led all players with 25 points, nine rebounds and seven blocks. Wolfin scored 10 for the Panthers, hitting 3/4 threes, while senior Tim Edwards (Greenwich, Conn.) added a game-high nine assists for Middlebury. Brian Ellis led Bates with 22 points and eight rebounds, while O'Keefe added a dozen and Schmiemann chipped in 10.

Middlebury built a double-digit lead midway through the first half en route to a 66-53 win over Tufts at Pepin Gym on Saturday. With the win, the 10th ranked Panthers improve to 14-1 overall and 2-0 in NESCAC play as the Jumbos drop to 3-10 and 0-2 in the conference. Despite being out-rebounded by Tufts 57-40 and 33-17 on the offensive glass, Middlebury held the Jumbos to .257 shooting from the floor.

Tufts took their only lead of the game at 16:40 in the first half on a lay-up by Scott Anderson at 16:40. The Panthers went on a 17-2 run, as junior Ryan Wholey (Pelham, N.H.) scored eight of his 10 points during the span. The Jumbos cut the lead to 21-12 at 7:51 on a bucket by James Long. The Panther lead bulged to 32-18 after a three by Wolfin at 2:43 before Jon Pierce and Anderson each made a pair of free throws to cap the first half scoring at 32-22.

Tufts opened the second half on a 5-0 spurt on an opening bucket by Dave Beyel followed by a three from Dan Cook at 19:22, cutting the lead to 32-27. Middlebury responded with an 11-2 run over the next six minutes, highlighted by seven points from Sharry. The lead grew to 51-35 after a bucket and free throw from Edwards at 7:54 before the Jumbos went on an 8-0 run over the next 3:31, ending on a bucket from Beyel at 4:23.

Leading 51-43, a Sharry lay-up followed by a block from Locke set up a basket by first-year player Nolan Thompson (Akron, Ohio) at 3:32 giving Middlebury a 55-43 cushion. Tufts couldn't break the double-digit lead down the stretch, missing three of four shots from behind the arc.

Sharry had a game-high of 16 points and a team-best nine rebounds, while Wolfin added 15 and a game-high six assists. Wholey and Thompson each netted 10 for Middlebury. Pierce led Tufts with a double-double of 13 points and 10 rebounds, as Beyel added a dozen points and nine rebounds, including five offensive boards.
. Men's basketball record: 14-1
. Up next: 1/22 @ Conn. - 8:00, 1/23 @ Wesleyan - 4:00